The scuffling Boston Red Sox won only their 10th game in the month of June with an 8-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays last night at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Manager John Farrell’s post-game meeting after the 13-7 loss to the offensively challenged Rays on Monday night (in which Tampa broke its 11-game losing streak) seemed to have a positive effect on the team.
“Speaking to the entire team but directing most of his frustration at the struggling pitching staff, Farrell implored the starters to ‘lead from the mound,’ especially after a four-game stretch in which David Price, Steven Wright, Clay Buchholz and demoted Eduardo Rodriguez combined to allow 27 earned runs on 37 hits in 15 innings,” ESPN reported.
E-Rod was sent back to Triple-A Pawtucket following Monday night’s game after giving up nine runs in less than three innings of work.
In game two of the three-game series of AL East rivals, Rex Sox starter and winner Rick Porcello, who has been generally steady amidst the squad’s pitching woes, evidently got the message. He tossed six innings, allowing five hits and just one run. His record is now 9-2, with a 3.78 ERA.
Sox third baseman Travis Shaw, who didn’t play in Game 1 of the series, broke out of his slump in a big way, homering in the second to right center and stroking a double and a single later in the game, accounting for a total of five RBI. Shaw, who won the third base job in Spring Training over the now-injured Pablo Sandoval, is the first player this season with five or more RBI in three games.
A sliding catch by Left fielder Bryce Brentz, who was called up due to injuries to Brock Holt, Blake Swihart, and Chris Young, closed out Porcello’s last inning of work.
Rays starter Chris Archer drops to 4-11; former All Star Archer has both the most losses and the most strikeouts in the American League so far this season. The Red Sox are 8-1 against Archer over his career.
Righty Porcello came this close to imploding in a tedious 39-pitch fourth inning, however. After losing his control and loading the bases with no outs, Porcello walked in a run, and things appeared to be unraveling for the Red Sox. “The biggest threat for the Rays came in the fourth, when Porcello allowed the first four batters to reach base, three via walks. Nick Franklin’s free pass forced in a run to put the Rays on the board. But, with Matt Barnes warming up, Porcello escaped the jam by sandwiching strikeouts of Hank Conger and Brad Miller around Logan Forsythe’s fly out to center field,” NESN explained.
Sox reliever Junichi Tazawa gave up a solo home run to the Rays’ shortstop Brad Miller in the seventh inning, Tampa Bay’s second run, one of the teams’ six hits in the game against the Sox pitching staff. Koji Uehara and Matt Barnes pitched the eighth and ninth innings for Boston, respectively, to wrap things up. Closer Craig Kimbrel had been warming up, but the Sox scored two insurance runs in the top of the ninth, making his appearance unnecessary.
Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, whose.343 AL batting average in second only to the Astros’ Jose Altuve, got the night off, as Marco Hernandez started in his place.
Red Sox ace – or presumed ace — David Price (8-4) faces the Rays’ Matt Moore (3-5) in an afternoon game today at an unusual 12:10 start time.
Going into today’s action, the Red Sox are 42-35 (19-17 away), 4-1/2 games behind the MLB AL East leading Baltimore Orioles but still very much in the Wild Card hunt, while the last-place Tampa Bay Rays are 32-44.
[Photo by Chris O’Meara/AP]